This season’s Premier League title race is reaching its grand finale. With 10 games to go, every match now feels like a massive moment in the epic battle. If Manchester City manage to beat struggling Bournemouth on Saturday, then they can pile on the pressure before Sunday’s Merseyside Derby: Everton vs Liverpool.
After a dismal start to 2019, Everton got back to winning ways away at Cardiff City on Tuesday night. Manager Marco Silva is still skating on thin ice, but the positive news is that The Toffees are up to 9th, only 4 points behind Wolves and Watford. A win over local rivals Liverpool would really set Everton up for a strong end to the season. Home form, however, is a big worry. They’ve only won 1 league match at Goodison Park since November. And the last time they won a Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park? 2010.
With the finish line in sight, Liverpool are desperate to hold on to their 1-point lead at the top. There have been a few stutters in recent weeks, but Wednesday’s 5-0 demolition of Watford was more like it from Jürgen Klopp’s team. The return of right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold is a massive boost, and so is the goalscoring form of Sadio Mané. The Senegalese star has 6 in his last 6 league games.
Jordan Pickford’s last-minute blunder gave Liverpool a lucky 1-0 win when Everton travelled to Anfield back in December. Let’s hope this Merseyside Derby is just as dramatic.
Other than left-back Leighton Baines, The Toffees are at full-strength for Everton vs Liverpool. The good news for The Reds is that Roberto Firmino’s ankle injury is not as serious as expected; the bad news is that he probably won’t be fit in time for the Merseyside Derby. Dejan Lovren, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez are all in a similar position.
Will Silva stick with Richarlison, despite the Brazilian scoring just 1 goal in 9 games? Bernard looked a lot more dangerous when he came on against Cardiff, and so did Ademola Lookman. At the back, Everton are still chopping and changing their centre-backs. Phil Jagielka did a decent job on Tuesday night, but Kurt Zouma or Yerry Mina are more likely to get the nod alongside Michael Keane for Everton vs Liverpool.
For Liverpool, the big question is Divock Origi or Xherdan Shaqiri in attack. Origi scored against Watford, but Shaqiri offers a slightly deeper, more creative option away from home. The midfield three is likely to be Gini Wijnaldum and Fabinho with either James Milner or Jordan Henderson.
Player to Watch: Gylfi Sigurðsson
After a tough first season at Goodison Park, Sigurðsson has gone on to become Everton’s star performer. Playing in his preferred Number 10 role, he has already equalled his best-ever Premier League tally of 11 goals. What his team really need right now, however, is a matchwinner, and not just a matchwinner against the Bottom Six (the source of 7 out of 11). So, can Sigurðsson come up with the goods in Everton vs Liverpool?